Connection is made
Like some of the greatest love stories—and occasional high-profile crimes—of our era, local surf/punk band Swigs began with a Craigslist ad. Dave Hadel, guitarist and lead vocalist, put out an ad looking for bandmates that was quickly answered by bassist Jonathan Daniel.
“It’s funny that we met right here at Bighorn [Bar], and finding out after we met here that he lives eight houses away from me,” said Daniel. “Like, how have we not heard each other playing music when we live right next to each other?”
Serendipity struck again as Hadel was already jamming with drummer Alise Corbin, who quickly recognized Daniel as a friend she’d known since childhood but hadn’t seen for over a decade. The band was formed shortly after the trio played Hadel’s 2017 New Year’s party.
“After that, we saw people really liked it and were dancing, and we were like, ’Ah, man, maybe we should book gigs and stuff and actually do this,’” Corbin said.
Building from familiar punk and surf sounds of past projects like the Riptide Bandits, for which Daniel used to play bass, and folding in newer elements like Corbin’s classical and orchestra background, Swigs revels in a peppy, upbeat sound that’s more Pixies than Sex Pistols.
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Hadel said. “We have a song called ’The Carlton,’ which is about the obvious dance, the Carlton; ’Top Secret Sandwiches’; one’s called ’The Stadium,’ which is about one of the levels in Super Mario 64.”
In the spirit of genre-bending fun, Swigs also wrote their own Spaghetti Western ballad called ’The Kid Comes to Town,’ in reference to Hadel’s nickname within their ranks—he’s “the Kid.” Daniel is “Pops,” and Corbin is “Sissy.”
“This is definitely the most positive and fun band I’ve ever played in, just because we maintain that attitude of, ’We’re just doing this to have fun,’ and there’s not going to be a limit on how stupid or silly the songs can be,” Daniel said.
The bandmates consider Swigs a live band, first and foremost. But their energy is also at work offstage. In the nine months since the band’s formation, they’ve recorded an EP, were signed to play at this year’s Offbeat Music Festival, and have enjoyed airtime on local radio stations.
“It took off pretty fast,” Daniel said. “We got booked for Offbeat after, like, five months of being a band.”
Offbeat Music Festival will take place from Nov. 2 to 4 at venues around Reno and will feature dozens of local bands and touring acts from around the country. Swigs plans to release its six-song EP that weekend on Spotify, iTunes and CD. Two tracks can be heard now on group’s Bandcamp page.
“We don’t have dreams of becoming gigantic mega stars, playing AT&T Stadium or anything, but we did just make a pact to go on tour next summer or spring,” Daniel said of the band’s next move—a decision that was made during a recent “band date” at a Primus show in South Lake Tahoe.
Hadel said that a hotel in Las Vegas has already offered them rooms and a stage to perform. He believes the DIY managerial experience he’s gained from hosting his All Independent Reno Podcast will serve them well going forward. However, the trio doesn’t seem to be sweating the details.
“It’s nice to know that you’re just doing what you do because you’re having fun and other people like it,” Corbin said. “That’s all we’re after, making people happy.”